Friday, 31 May 2013

The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth...

Peace be with you all!
Today we hear the story of Mary's visit to Elizabeth so I thought I'd republish this of our most viewed!!

In Today's Gospel we hear of the great moment when Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. On seeing Mary, the child in Elizabeth's womb, St John the Baptist, leapt for joy. Why?It has been said that through the act of visiting her cousin, Mary was the first Evangelist and the first missionary, bringing the Joy of Christ to others. She carried inside her own body, Jesus and the significance of this was recognised not only by Elizabeth, who said ' How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to visit me?', but also by her child.

We hear Mary's words of humility and service...."My soul glorifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, He has looked on his servant in her lowliness and therefore all ages we call me blessed. The Almighty has worked marvels for me...Holy His Name".

Mary takes no credit for the task she is about to undertake but inside points all the blessings and goodness back to God.

We too have the Lord dwelling inside us, do we recognise him? do we leap for joy? to we take him to others so that they can experience His presence and Joy?

As Capuchin Friars we, through our prayer / contemplation, fraternity and mission, try to recognise, respond to and bring the Love, Joy and Peace of Christ to the World. If you feel you are being asked by God to do likewise, please take some time to listen and respond. If you would like to talk to us or visit us, you will be welcomed, as Mary was welcomed, with great Joy.

Contact: Br Terence Harrington   (e-mail)

Br Martin

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

'Who are You Lord and Who am I?'

Recently, I read  a survey carried out in the States on Vocations and Religious Life. The survey had some clear messages:
  • People are responding to what has been traditionally know as a 'call' to religious life
  • They are people who feel that there is more they could be
  • They are people of faith, of hope and concern for others
But the one word that screams out from the survey is IDENTITY. People are searching for a more authentic identity. They are searching for a something 'sure' to identify themselves with. 

The report states that 
'The most successful institutes in terms of attracting and retaining new members at this time are those that follow a more traditional style of religious life in which members live together in community and participate in daily Eucharist, pray the Divine Office, and engage in devotional practices together. They also wear a religious habit, work together in common apostolates, and are explicit about their fidelity to the Church and the teachings of the Magisterium. All of these characteristics are especially attractive to the young people who are entering religious life today.

The young men and women also want to wear the habit, : “In this world, which has moved so far from religious symbolism, people are hungry for things spiritual.” (CARA Report)

All of these elements are manifestations of a search for meaning, for authenticity and for identity. This is not a new thing....St Francis prayed 'who are You Lord and who am I', St Augustine searched for meaning and identity seeking God 'outside' when all the time He was 'inside'. Today's media driven world seeks to tell us what our identity should be: what we should wear, what we should watch, what music to listen to and even how to think, or vote. However, this type of identity is superficial and like, opinion, is blown around by current trends and the next 'big thing'. 

If we want to find our true identity, we have to go to the source of all identity: God. Did He not reassure us that He has known us even before we were in the womb?, surely, He is the One of whom we need to ask: Who am I ? Who am I supposed to be? 

May people who find the courage, because it does take courage, to respond to a desire to contact and speak about a vocation to religious life, enter into a journey of self discovery and self fulfillment. There are obstacles and distractions along the way and often people decide not to carry on for one reasons or another. For those who engage deeply with the discernment process, who ask honest questions of themselves, of the Order, of society and of God, they can begin to discover a deeper sense of self and purpose. This sense of self and purpose is useless if it is seen as an end in itself, it must always be channeled to towards the end of serving God and His people, loving as Christ has loved and being attuned to the cry of the poor.

This is a step by step, daily journey of discernment and conversion. Of shedding old skin and growing new skin. It's a process, sometimes difficult and often challenging, of emergence into a space whereby we can begin to see the world, and ourselves, as God sees us, without all the layers of prejudice, anxiety and fear.

St Francis prayed : 'Cast Your Light into the darkness of my heart', it's by this light that we come to realise that What we have been chasing after all this time, was here all along and that the What is in fact a Who.

Br Martin

Sunday, 26 May 2013

St Francis & the Holy Trinity

Happy Feast of the Trinity to all!!!

St Francis of Assisi held a deep love for the Trinity and was often caught up in prayer and contemplation on the Mystery of the Trinity. The Trinity is one, if not THE, great mysteries of our faith. Father, Son and Spirit united as one, yet individual. United by pure and uncontaminated Love (with a capital L!). The Trinity is the exemplar of self-less Love, of Fellowship, of Communion and of Giving. The Three Divine Persons are bound together in a bond of Love which is impossible for us to imagine. However, this Love is not self satisfying or self contained, but rather spills out into all of creation, causing it to be, and into the hearts of each and every one of us, through Baptism. The Trinity dwells within us....what a mind blowing though!

Our call then is threefold:

  • To recognise that we are vessels of the Trinity and to rejoice in it
  • To live as vessel of the Trinity radiating that self-less Love to all Creation
  • To allow the Trinity to prayer in and through us

Francis, at the end of the Earlier Rule for the Friars , composed a beautiful prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving, the latter part referring directly to the Trinity, praying this may be a good way to get in-touch with How dwells inside of you:

Wherever you are, in every place, at every hour,
at every time of the day, every day and continually,
let all of us truly and humbly believe, hold in our heart an
love, honour, adore, serve, praise and bless,
glorify and exalt, magnify and give thanks to the
Most High and Supreme Eternal God
Trinity and Unity.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Creator of all! Saviour of all!
Who believe and hope in Him, and love Him, Who, without
beginning and end, is unchangeable, invisible, indescribable, ineffable,
incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed, praiseworthy,
glorious, exalted, sublime, most High, gentle, lovable, delightful, and,
totally desirable above all else, for ever and ever. Amen

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

God has a plan for your life.

It's the season of Pentecost, a time to reflect upon what God's plan is for you. Pray especially at this time for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. What's important in life is that we follow God's plan and not our own. The question we ought to ask ourselves is: what is God's plan for me? "Your will be done, not mine."  Trust Him.

Monday, 6 May 2013

The Rule of St. Francis.

"This is the Rule and Life of the Friars Minor, namely, to observe the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience, without property, and in chastity".

To be a Franciscan is to give oneself totally to God with no strings attached, a total surrender of oneself.  Not necessarily easy! Think about it.